4 Feb 2016

del potro us open 2009

Juan Martin Del Potro is back! Delpo makes his return at Delray Beach this spring, and for Throwback Thursday, I take a look at his incredible 2009 US Open victory over Federer.

This match was one of the greatest slam finals of time. The quality, the drama, and where this match sits in my personal tennis history make it probably my favourite match of all time. I remember it vividly, and that’s because in part I later downloaded the match and watched it again in full another three times in the years that followed.
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1 Feb 2016
Podcastlogosquare

Brodie and Juan Jose discuss the amazing Kerber upset and what she did well to win her first slam. They also discuss the impressive changes in Raonic’s game, Andy Murray’s endless self babbling and Djokovic’s continuing excellent form.

Like the podcast? You can help support the podcast and the blog by contributing to the Patreon campaign. Subscribe on iTunes and Stitcher.

29 Jan 2016

milos raonic ao

He could have won. Maybe, he even should have won. And those are the losses that sting the most.

Regardless of the tough loss in five sets to Andy Murray at the Australian Open, the positives from Raonic’s start to the season are overwhelming. Even some of his biggest detractors, those who have perhaps fairly called him boring in the past, have been impressed and enjoyed his run. The improvements aren’t just buzz words like “movement” and “confidence”, they’re noticeable and measurable.

After a horrible 2015, Canadian tennis needed this. But more importantly, the ATP needed this.

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28 Jan 2016

Their 45th meeting. Melbourne. Semifinals. The stage doesn’t get much bigger. Those of us in North America (who were crazy enough) stayed up late or crawled out of bed. Before we could barely get the coffee finished brewing or the tea finished steeping, the first set was over. Still scratching our eyes from what we had seen, and only half way through our coffee, the second set was over.

Federer did well to take out some of the pace in the rallies to give himself more time on the ball, changing the rhythm of the match, forcing some errors out of Djokovic and stealing away the third set. But after a long delay for roof closing, Djokovic got back on course, pushed the pressure back on to Federer, used some insane defence to hit some fantastic shots and was safely through to the final.

The first set really stands out, but at 3:40am, I was barely awake. Let’s go back and explore what the heck Djokovic was doing to dominate the first set in a speedy 22 minutes, 6-1.
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27 Jan 2016

raonic banner

It’s 2016, and Milos Raonic still hasn’t lost.

When Rafael Nadal lost in the first round, Milos Raonic’s section mildly imploded. He’s done wonderfully to build on his title in Brisbane to advance to the semifinals at the Australian Open, defeating Gael Monfils Wednesday night, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. He’ll join Andy Murray, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic as the final four players in the men’s draw. It’s fitting, because he’s looked like the fourth best player in the world to start 2016.
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26 Jan 2016

djokovic ao nishikori

The Bakery is your one stop shop for quick hitting match reports. Bagels and breadsticks may or may not be included.

Juan Jose and I talked about the crazy, bizarre yet fascinating Djokovic/Simon match at length on the latest podcast. Simon played the perfect match – junk balling, keeping things central, lengthening points and coming up with some crazy backhand winners. Djokovic’s inability to create pace and break down Simon looked troubling, nevermind the fact that he hit 100 unforced errors. Novak was clear that he wouldn’t be tired and had experience being pushed in long matches and being forced the very next day, nevermind two days later.

Nishikori would be a very different proposition. Kei would hit with pace, hit with angles, open up the court and bring the madness. From the get go, Djokovic looked back in his comfort zone.
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24 Jan 2016
Podcastlogosquare

Brodie and Juan Jose convene for a Week 1 of the Australian Open megasode. They focus in on the crazy Djokovic/Simon marathon, the ATP drama around Federer and Tomic and the WTA’s intriguing young players and subsequent draw implosion. Finally, Juan Jose shares what he learned from his interview of Boris Becker for his piece at Rolling Stone.

Like the podcast? You can help support the podcast and the blog by contributing to the Patreon campaign. Subscribe on iTunes and Stitcher. Soundcloud link coming, too!

22 Jan 2016

pondertheracket

 

1. Serena’s Health

I was skeptical of Serena’s health and interest going into Melbourne. She seemed grumpy before play had even began, and we’ve seen her bow out of big tournaments early when she gets frustrated and things just aren’t going her way. She was even 3/1 by many odds makers to win the tournament. That seems laughable now, particularly with her draw, and is without a doubt the favourite to win it again.

2. Tsonga/Nishikori

Jo is confident, healthy, and playing well. So healthy that he’s even trying crazy crap like this (on set point, none the less):

 

Likewise, Nishikori looks healthy and has been going for some big shots on these quick courts. This should be the toast of Sunday (or Saturday night if you’re in North America) and is much watch tennis. The match up is great, too.
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22 Jan 2016

dimitovao

The Bakery is your one stop shop for quick hitting match reports. Bagels and breadsticks may or may not be included.

Grigor Dimitrov is turning into the high draft pick that never quite worked out. Every night you can see flashes of brilliance, signs of what he could be, but unfortunately just can’t quite seem to have everything work out to be a top player.

That was the story of Dimitrov’s Friday night encounter with Federer. We all know there is a bit of a master and padawan relationship between these two. Dimitrov’s shot execution looks eerily similar to Federer’s other than the fact that he’s not Roger Federer. Unfortunately for him, their recent matches have been one way traffic with the final destination being Fedtown.

This time, he came prepared to play. The second set was brilliant. Running around forehands, playing excellent defence, going down the line, mixing in some good net play. It was a recipe to keep Federer guessing and off of his rhythm, and it worked. Roger became irritated with himself late in the set, both after a missed shot coming into net as well as after a poor return decision. He was in a big hole and lost the set. Dimitrov was pumping his fist, pumping the “c’mon!”s and we had ourselves a match.

I hate the word momentum (in sports, I guess it works in a scientific sense). Momentum is often a figment of a fan’s imagination and impossible to quantify. But there is no doubt Dimitrov had the momentum going into the third set.

And then he didn’t.
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21 Jan 2016

hewitt wimbledon

Throw back Thursday, because looking back at how tennis used to be is great fun. I’ll take a look back at a tournament or day that happened on this day or week. Today we look back at Lleyton Hewitt’s lone grand slam title, the 2002 Wimbledon final.

What a time. The early 00s are one of the most fascinating, bizarre times for tennis. The Agassi/Sampras era was coming to an end, and there was a flood of talented yet flawed up and comers. Marat Safin. Andy Roddick. Lleyton Hewitt. And Roger Federer, but hey, he wouldn’t win his first slam title until 2003, and right now, it’s 2002.

Disclaimer, I didn’t watch this entire match. I’m not insane. But I did watch a good chunk of the first set, and it’s a lot of fun to take a look back.
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